Saturday, February 4, 2012

emergent/emergency: Entry for Saturday, February 4, 2012

The error of considering “emergent” to be the adjectival form of “emergency” is common only in medical writing, but it is becoming widespread. “Emergent” properly means “emerging” and normally refers to events that are just beginning—barely noticeable rather than catastrophic. “Emergency” is an adjective as well as a noun, so rather than writing “emergent care,” use the homely “emergency care.”

1 comment:

  1. Proper usage of "emergent" as referring to an "emergency" is not limited to the medical field. It is common (and correct) in the legal field to refer to a "emergent application" or "motion for emergent relief". Such applications are typically filed on short notice and have an accelerated schedule to meet some situation that threatens immediate, and possibly irreparable, harm if the normal motion practice is followed.